… And after that God heeded the prayer for the land. 2 Sam 21:14
“You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow’s garment as a pledge. Deuteronomy 24:17
The Avenging of the Gibeonites
Gibeonites avenged: 2 Samuel 21:1-14. Centuries before this time, Joshua made a solemn covenant in God’s name with the Gibeonites (see Josh. 9). Saul violated this treaty. When three years of famine cripples Israel, David seeks the reason. He discovers that God has brought the famine on account of Saul’s attack on the Gibeonites. David asks the Gibeonites to set compensation. They demand nothing less than the right to execute seven of Saul’s male descendants, for Saul is the one “who plotted against us and destroyed us” (5).
1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” 2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.
6 let seven men of his descendants be delivered to us, and we will hang them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord chose.” And the king said, “I will give them.” … And after that God heeded the prayer for the land. 2 Sam 21:6-14
—> David didn’t know the reason for the long famine in his land. He found out only after he inquired of the Lord. It was God’s punishment for breaking the covenant made in the name of God. Although the covenant was made with Gibeonites, outsiders and potential enemies of Israel and Israel was tricked into entering into it by the shrewd Gibeonites, the oath should not have been breached according to the Lord.
They remind me of the parable of a shrewd manager Jesus talked about. Being shrewd is not a bad thing especially when it comes to a matter of life and death. The Gibeonites were wise when they recognized the power of Israel’s God, and thus fighting against them would be futile. Therefore, they used a ruse to survive.
It is so important to find out “why” when something significant happens. Without finding out “why”, we would continue to be trapped in a bad situation. Because David asked for the reason, the Lord gave him His answer. Then, David was able to take the action to solve the problem of famine for his people.
For this particular violation, seven sons of King Saul were brought to the Gibeonites and executed as requested.
4 And the Gibeonites said to him, “We will have no silver or gold from Saul or from his house, nor shall you kill any man in Israel for us.” So he said, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 Then they answered the king, “As for the man who consumed us and plotted against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the territories of Israel, 6 let seven men of his descendants be delivered to us, and we will hang them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord chose.” And the king said, “I will give them.”
Covenants made in the name of God are sacred and should not be violated. Do not say words in God’s name in vain — a lesson learned today. This also means that God will abide by His covenants with us — as written in the Old Testament and the New Testament.